The Long-Awaited Harvest

Willow Creek | June 22, 2021

This past weekend, Pastor Dave continued Courage Calling: Lessons from Joshua with a message called “Courage to Face Challenges.” In his message, Dave told of the challenges Joshua and the Israelites were up against when they arrived at the city of Jericho, a well-fortified city with double-thick walls and a strong army. However, by trusting in God and the victory He had already won, Joshua and the Israelites were able to call down the walls of Jericho and take the city. 


For the Israelites, it was a long-awaited victory. They had wandered the desert for forty years, waiting for God to give them the guidance and green light to move on to the Promised Land. As they wandered, though, an entire generation died off; the Israelites also experienced constant conflicts with neighboring armies, water shortages, and rampant illnesses caused by their sins. 


It was after forty years of wandering, struggle, and lost hope when God brought them to Jericho. What was going through the minds of the Israelites when God brought them across the Jordan and to that city’s great walls? How must they have felt? Exhausted? Broken? Bitter? How many of them were ready to give up on God’s plan and go back to wandering? The walls were massive and they were just a ragged group.


Yet we know how the story ends, with trumpets blaring and yells crescendoing and ultimately walls falling; but what if they had tapped out? What if the Israelites had given up right at the walls of Jericho, right at the gate of their destiny?


Many of us read our Bibles and sometimes can’t fathom the unbelief of the Israelites–they saw miracle after miracle but still questioned God’s plan for their lives. It’s ironic because whether we want to admit it or not, at times, all of us are like the Israelites. We’ve seen God do incredible things in our own lives and bridge tremendous gaps, but there are also seasons where we question His plan and wonder if He still sees us and our struggles; there are times when we hit the walls of Jericho and are just ready to give up.


God brought our spouse into our lives after years of searching, but we question whether He can mend our relationship after a time of emotional distance. God healed family members before, but we question whether He can do it again. God gave us a job in the first place, but we wonder why we can’t find one now and if He will provide again. For a lot of us, we’re right at the door, ready to give up and say, “God, I can’t do this anymore. It’s been too long, and You’ve been too silent. I can’t keep waiting on You.” 


But what if we didn’t lose hope and held on just a little longer?


Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Walking this road of life is not easy, and it’s full of potholes and dead-ends, but let’s not give up on our God; He has a plan for us all–in His time!


The Israelites were exhausted and beaten down, but it was then that God gave them the victory, and why then? So they could only point to God. They didn’t get the victory on their own strength and merits. It wasn’t because they were smart enough, strong enough, or brave enough; they got their victory because God was enough.


We might be up against it right now with finances, illness, addiction, marital strife, depression, anxiety, or so much more, and we might be ready to throw in the towel, but let’s remember this: our God is enough and our victory could be just moments away. What if we pushed on just a little further? What if we tried one more phone call to our spouse, one more email to our boss, sent out one more resume, texted our sponsor one more time, or walked through the church doors just once more? 


We don’t know God’s timing, but we do know He is faithful, and we do know we will reap an amazing harvest if we do not give up.